Blanket coverage by mainland media

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 12:00am

Lien Chan's history-making trip has received overwhelming coverage by state media, from probing minute details of his life and family to counting the number of suitcases he was carrying.

Yesterday's splash headline on most popular online news portals, such as Sina, Sohu and Xinhua, was the arrival of Mr Lien and his 70-strong delegation in Nanjing airport. Some even provided online broadcasts.

The news portals and some newspapers highlighted the groundbreaking trip with special, dedicated pages packed with stories. They included articles about Mr Lien's early life, analyses of the trip, and the history of relations between the Communist Party and the KMT - including two periods of mutual co-operation.

Readers were also fed juicy, soft stories shedding light on Mr Lien's childhood in Xian and trivia about the trip.

Interviews with Mr Lien's childhood friends in Xian revealed how the prominent Taiwanese political figure was once a naughty boy. His mother, Chao Lan-kun, would draw a chalk circle around him and warn him not to step outside it.

The reports delved into details about Mr Lien's wife, Lien Fang Yu, who was once a beauty queen, and the love affairs of his son, Sean Lien, and eldest daughter, Lien Hui-hsin.

Topping off the trip's coverage was a detailed itinerary of the delegation and descriptions of how delicately Mr Lien would be treated.

Xinhua reported that the delegation would be treated to the famous regional Qinhuai snacks while visiting the Confucius temple in Nanjing. The dishes would be tailor-made to contain less sugar than normal, as most of the delegates were elderly and some were diabetic, the report said.

A report by even noted that Mr Lien would be bringing many suitcases since he needed to bring clothes for the different weather conditions in the south and north.

It also predicted Mr Lien and President Hu Jintao would break the ice, when they met, by talking about the weather.